Rizzo To Begin Year In AAA; Cashner To Relieve

The San Diego Padres traded away their best remaining trade chip for a pitcher who has been both a starter and a reliever; the Chicago Cubs acquired a hitter who filled a position of need, but who might not be ready for the majors just yet. How would they be used?

Good question. First from Scott Miller:

Cubs GM Hoyer: Plan is Rizzo open at AAA Iowa and LaHair start season at 1B.

...and again:

Padres GM Byrnes says views Cashner as reliever in 2012. Set-up role makes sense, but GM says not going to "anoint" him now as 8th ing man

There you have it. Bryan LaHair, a 28-year-old who has ridden more buses than any man should ever have to, will not get his first chance at a major-league job yoinked away from him with one cruel transaction. He'll still be the ostensible starter.

And considering how the Padres have found relievers in the past -- in free boxes around the league, through minor deals, and by building them with slider dust and Tinkertoys -- it's more than a little curious that they gave up their best trade chip for a young pitcher they intend to put in the bullpen, but Cashner does have an impressive arm, and it's not crazy for a GM like Josh Byrnes to covet someone like that.

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